Quote for Today
“Religion is the fear of God, and its demonstration good works; and faith is the root of both: For without faith we cannot please God; nor can we fear what we do not believe”
– William Penn
“Religion is the fear of God, and its demonstration good works; and faith is the root of both: For without faith we cannot please God; nor can we fear what we do not believe”
– William Penn
“And Simon answering said unto him, Master,
we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing:
nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”
True living faith will never be conditioned by experience. Faith, to be faith, must always find its dependence in God not ourselves. Though experience says one thing the cry and purpose of faith must remain undaunted. “Nevertheless” is the word of a man who sets aside his own resources, strengths and abilities and believes God in the moment. This faith must birth a doing in the now. “Nevertheless” is a word that gives way to the doing of a thing regardless of our past experience. It is a word that comes to those who believe, and by that believing there is a response in the now of our life. It is not the “faith” of Mary who said Lord I know “… in that day…” something will happen, for the Christ stands in our midst speaking “I AM the resurrection and the life…”
Let this word “nevertheless” speak to us of better things than what our experience would teach us; for those who listen and regard their experience cease to walk and live by faith. “Today if ye will hear HIS voice…” is the creed by which we must live. Men who don’t do won’t hear. The Word is to those who “have ears to hear” for with every hearing there must be a corresponding act of doing and obeying HIS WORD.
The Spirit of God is HERE to press us beyond our circumstances, our former experiences, and our own resources into the glorious provisions of a God who is constantly calling us to deeper waters, a higher vision and a greater dependency upon HIM. How good is our God! How gracious are HIS ways; the thing we are confronted with is HIS doorway into greater things in HIM!
Faith, to be faith, must always be fresh, living and beating within our hearts. Faith IN a teaching or an idea will eventually become stagnant and dead; the faith of the living Son is active and real! It is never static for it is always moving from one faith into a greater. Every living thing grows and everything static and stagnant remains the same.
“So David went on his way,
and Saul returned to his place”
1 SAMUEL 26:25
Two men; one ever moving on in the WAY of God the other set in ways of stagnancy, disobedience and compromise.
“Belief is truth held in the mind;
faith is fire in the heart”
Joseph Fort Newton (1880–1950)
“But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God,
in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings,
in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness,
by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned…”
II CORINTHIANS 4:5 – 6
The approval of one’s ministry is revealed not only by the MINISTRATION of the LIFE OF CHRIST to others but by the REVELATION of the CHARACTER of Christ as we conduct ourselves in the course of everyday life. It is in the crucible of this life that we reveal the true state of our heart. We can speak great swelling words, do mighty works, associate with men of God, and have great knowledge in the things of God, but it is in our reaction to the circumstances around us that we either approve or disapprove ourselves unto God. Character is the revelation of a man’s walk with God. What we do reveals what we are.
“I will show thee my faith by my works”
Faith is given in order for us to BECOME expressions of its author. We are all works in progress. Nevertheless if we do not equate FAITH with BEING we will deprive ourselves of all that God has purposed. Every trial that comes our way is to one end; that we are changed to more of a likeness of HIM.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”
II CORINTHIANS 4:17
What is this “eternal weight of Glory”? Is it not HIS character and HIS likeness wrought into our very being? The true value of FAITH is to make us witnesses of HIM, not only in word, but more importantly in DEED. The nature and purpose of FAITH is to make us live BEYOND our own resources, to make available to us the riches, the substance and the goodness of our God. Where faith is real so is character. Men who claim great faith without revealing great character have deceived themselves.
We are living in a day of revelation. This day will reveal the one who built his house upon hearing the Word of God without doing and the one who built his house by the hearing and doing of God’s Word. For the flood is coming and with that flood will come the revelation that the strength of a man’s house is not in the house but that upon which it is built.
May the Lord work in us a fresh realization that it is in the daily grind of life we are to ever be about our Father’s business, which is to reveal HIS SON in each one of us.
“But when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother’s womb,
and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me…”
GALATIANS 1:15 – 16
“Character in a saint
means the disposition of Jesus Christ persistently manifested”
“Woe is unto me,
if I preach not the gospel!.”
I CORINTHIANS 9:16
The ministration of the Gospel is not for a select few; it is the awesome responsibility of every one of His people. Each one of us is CALLED to a unique and specific ministration of HIS LIFE. The Good News of HIS LIFE IS the Gospel. It is most perplexing that we have relegated the preaching of the Gospel to a select few when in reality each of us may be the only Bible that some people are going to see and hear. It is a DAY to live and preach the Gospel to all of those that are around us; to those who are walking in darkness and to those who are walking in the light! We see our brothers and sisters struggling in sin and defeat; they also need the GOOD NEWS that there IS an answer to their struggles! We need to see that the reality of the LIFE of Christ IS the answer for the world. We need to be bearing within our hearts the eternal flame of HIS CRY for all men.
“For thou shalt be his witness
unto ALL men of what thou hast seen and heard”
The criterion of our witness to others is based on what WE have seen and heard! I am not responsible to preach or declare what someone else has seen or heard. My responsibility is to DECLARE WHAT I HAVE SEEN AND HEARD! The question to each of us now is, WHAT HAVE WE SEE AND HEARD? Men who see little have little to show in their lives of our great God. Men who hear little have little to declare of the goodness and majesty of our God.
We live in a day of information overload; a day in which knowledge has increased. Unfortunately, this knowledge has produced little in the Christian Church in North America of a clear and powerful expression of the risen Christ. Too few have burning within their hearts the passion to EXPRESS HIS LIFE in this world. Too many are content to sit in faithless inactivity as it relates to the ministration of HIS LIFE in this world. The apathy of “if God wants it done He will do it” is the statement of a heart that has not touched the core of God’s heart. If “God so loved the world that HE sent HIS SON” will HE not also send you and me? If Paul cried out “Woe is unto me… if I preach not the Gospel” how can we be excused from our own responsibility? In the midst of all the religious activity around us, where is the burden in the lives of individuals to become an expression of HIS GLORY? Where is the sense of HIS CALL upon our lives? Where is the inescapable desire within our hearts for a life in HIM that completely transcends our present reality? Men who have no vision of God will have no sense of the purpose of the life that God has called them unto. We are to be HIS WITNESSES unto ALL men. We are to BE HIS EXPRESSION of all that HE is to ALL MEN! What that expression in each of us is dependent upon what we “have seen and heard” individually. The lack of a burden to reveal HIM, the absence of a cry within each of us to reveal our portion of HIM in the earth, is an all too common sign of the condition of the Day in which we live.
HIS return is predicated on the preaching of the Gospel…
“And this gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
and THEN shall the end come”
“Trust in the LORD, and do good …”
Trust is the foundation of obedience. It is the substance of faith that our feet must walk upon in order for us to step into the things He has spoken to us. In order to obey that which we have heard the initial step is always taken upon the grounds of trust. We must trust Him who has instructed us to go. “For faith cometh by hearing….” The inspiration of faith arises within our hearts concerning the thing that God has spoken, and then comes the test; do we trust the One who has spoken that word? How many times has God spoken to His people His thoughts, desires and direction only to have them look at the things (obstacles) and fail. Why? Because the ability to do good, is dependent upon our capacity to trust Him in the thing He has purposed. Trust is vital to relationship. It is that history of interaction that gives us the ability to continue to step out into the unknown because we consider Him “faithful and true”. With every new discovery of His faithfulness there is a corresponding “go” from Him into new places of our inheritance in Him. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…ACCOUNTING that God was able to raise him up…” (Heb. 11:17 – 19) Abraham’s offering was the result of his accounting of the character and the faithfulness of God. This utter trust became the enablement to do the thing that God had asked.
How many of God’s people stand paralyzed at the door that stands before us whereas the only way we can step into these new places is on the grounds of faith and trust. This can become the place of disappointment and confusion or it can become the place of a new revelation. All the sermons, revelations and knowledge that we have been given can take us no further than this. It is the place of doing. It is the place of becoming. It is the juncture between the former things and the new things. It is our personal crisis. It is the point at which no man can help us. Never find rest in hearing; it is in the doing that our faith is revealed.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:
but the word preached did not profit them,
not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”
The word that has been ministered to us is only proved to be profitable in us through the medium of obedience to that word. James exhorts us to be “doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving ourselves…” May the Lord bring into our lives the healthy Fear of the Lord that we might move on in the things He has called us to. As we are exhorted in Hebrews “Let us therefore fear…” Fear what? “…lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest…” The fear of the Lord will impel us to move; our trust in Him will enable us to step out until what He has spoken becomes the thing that we have done. God’s purpose is to have His word become flesh. That is, through the hearing and doing of His Will by the ministration of the Holy Spirit, we are to become “bone of His bone and flesh of his flesh”. As the scriptures declare “…as He is, so are we in this world”. These are staggering statements but it is not in us becoming something distinct in ourselves; it is in our lives becoming hid with Christ in God. He who walks in His light reveals who he is…so that light gives us reason to hope!
In all of this there is a gracious and loving God who is calling us unto Himself. That call is not only the desire of God for us to come to Him but the provision to do so; drawn upon through the walk of faith and trust. It is when the feet of the priests touched the river that the Jordan parted. Without the step there is no ministration of the provision. It was in the digging of the trenches that an army perishing of thirst was satisfied. God would have us to know that IN the very act of obedience is the revelation of His provision. As the old hymn proclaims to us from generations before “Trust and obey for there is no other way…”
Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land,
and verily thou shalt be fed.
”And I arose in the night”
The test of faith is not only what we do in the times of light and blessing but how we respond in those times when we cannot see our way. Here we see a dark time for the people of God; the City of God was burned with fire, the gates destroyed, and rubble filled the streets. The enemy was strong in the Land and the oppressors kept diligent watch that there should be no rising up of the people of God.
Nehemiah had a call from God to see the City arise from the rubble. There was a cry in his heart for the City not for himself. The burden caused him to arise, the vision was strong upon him, his purpose was clear and his God was Great. He did not wait for others to “catch the vision”; he did not wait for the “conditions” to improve. He arose to fulfill the cry of God in his heart.
True Vision produces DEEDS of FAITH. True vision brings us into the reality that our God is willing, able and faithful to provide substance and strength for the purpose for which we have been apprehended. While men linger in the night the tares are planted…
“But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat”
While men sleep the enemy sows deception and error; thoughts that sound right but destroy the truth of the seed that was planted. Excuses and reasons why we cannot arise, why the people of God should be content to just maintain the status quo while the City of God remains divided, weak and barren, are all tares sown in the night.
“The slothful man saith, there is a lion in the way…”
LET US ARISE even in the night to see HIS Glory once again covering, filling and empowering the Church of JESUS CHRIST. Let us arise, lay aside the seeking of our own prosperity, and find HIS heart to seek the welfare of the Children of God!
“God’s program for reviving His people is definite and clear. First Elijah repaired the altar of Jehovah that was thrown down. That is the place to begin. All the ruin that sin has wrought must be cleared away by confession. Things must be made right with God; restitution must be made where it is due. Unless this is done definitely and thoroughly, prayer for reviving is vain. Too many are praying today without repairing the altar by confession of sin, without digging a trench of separation from the world and without a surrender that is even unto death. No wonder such prayer is fruitless”
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good,
and healing all that were oppressed of the devil;
for God was with him”
The power and evidence of the operation of the Holy Ghost in the life of Jesus was that he went about doing good. There are many who contend that the evidence of the Holy Ghost in a person’s life is speaking in tongues. While this may be it has been lost that the purpose of the Holy Ghost coming to his people from God’s perspective is to make us witnesses (Acts 1:8) through out the world unto him. We get caught up with so many things and lose sight of the reason why we are here. We are called unto love and good works. It is vital that we have the love of God burning in our hearts in such intensity that the result is a life that goes about doing good to those around us. The Holy Ghost operating in our lives is not only the power to deliver those that are oppressed, but to be filled with such love as to make that faith reach out to the lost. It is to such things that we have been called. We know that we are not saved by works but it is equally true that by doing good works we reveal that salvation that has been freely given to us. The servant is not above the master. If his life was lived in the context of this world by doing good are not we called to the same? A good fountain will give forth good water and a liberal soul will be expressed in generosity. These are the principles of fruit in his creation. Let us go out into this world with the lamp of the Lord burning brightly through the good works of those who have been empowered by His Spirit to walk as he walked.
that the Father had given
all things into his hands,
and that he was come from God,
and went to God;
He riseth from supper,
and laid aside his garments;
and took a towel, and girded himself.
After that he poureth water into a basin,
and began to wash the disciples’ feet”
JOHN 13:3 – 5
Servanthood is directly related to our security in terms of relationship with God. Men who are insecure cannot, will not, ever touch upon the power of the HIS humility. “Jesus knowing” was the basis of HIS ability to serve and minister to others. HIS relationship with God was not determined by what HE did; HIS knowing of who HE was was not defined by the position HE took with other men. HE knew and was secure in HIS relationship with the FATHER. True ministry knows that the secret of the people of God flowing, moving and being empowered in their own ministrations of the risen Christ is directly related to each member being “rooted and grounded in the love of God”. Men may function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but that is not true ministry. Ministry is that which flows from member to member because of relationship not gifting…
“From whom the whole body
fitly joined together
and compacted by that
which every JOINT supplieth,
according to the effectual working
in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body
unto the edifying of itself in love”
The Body of Christ is “fitly joined and supplied” by means of the joints which speak of relationship and love flowing from member to member. The Corinthian Church excelled in the operation of the Gifts of the Spirit, yet they were carnal and filled with strife and emulation even to the point of pitting one ministry above another. They did not realize that the true power of edification and ministry took place in serving one another in Christ. They did not see that the gifts, when they are not coupled with the character of the Son, could not produce ministry but could only express ministrations that (without the character of Christ) would not produce the unity and the love of God in the local church.
It is in each of us knowing and walking in the power of a safe and secure walk with God that we can serve one another in true love and power. King Saul was an insecure man, because his obedience was partial and his heart obstinate, and when he beheld the life of David and heard the singing of the maidens of the greater works of David his insecurity drove him to persecute and drive David away.
SECURITY can only be known by a walk of love and obedience for that is the revelation of HIM that alone will give us boldness in the Day of Judgment.
“Herein is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness
in the day of judgment: because as he is,
so are we in this world”
I JOHN 4:17
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works.”
Somewhere in the in the murky waters of religion, “works” became one of those words that became a stigma to the teaching of faith. Works and faith were set in opposition to one another to such an extent that faith itself lost its power in the life of the individual believer. Faith became a noun where it is said of some they are of a particular “faith”. In the divorce of Faith from works, faith became an esoteric concept, a teaching, a statement of belief that could be hung from a wall, printed on a church bulletin, or written in a book and sold as a commodity. It has come to such a low point that faith really has very little to do with the life of the common believer. Its impact is relegated to “discussions” and doctrinal statements without so much as a thought as to what it should actually PRODUCE in the life of the believer.
“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that
FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD?”
As the church descended the slippery slopes where faith occupied less and less of the minds and hearts of God’s people, false teachings came in corrupting and beguiling the people of God and bringing the GREAT DIVORCE of Faith from Works. Faith was no longer the heart and soul of the people of God; teachings and philosophy replaced the power and illumination of the lamp of God. No longer did the fellowship of believers “provoke one another unto Love and Good Works”, but we replaced it with programs and teachings that promoted faithless inactivity. Jesus was having a discussion with the Pharisees of HIS day in which they had said to HIM, “Abraham is our father”. Jesus replied….
“If ye were Abraham’s children,
ye would do the works of Abraham”
So should it be said in this day, if we are the children of God, we should be doing the works of God. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus stated…
“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
We are not saved by works; we are saved UNTO good works by the union of Love and Faith. Far too often have the scriptures been taken out of context and used to support the horror of divorcing Faith from Works…
“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and not that of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath ordained that we
SHOULD WALK IN THEM.”
Ephesians 2:8 – 10
Where is the separation? It is only in the abominable teaching of this hour. Where are the works of the believer that are inspired by the living Faith of Christ within us? How dare we separate these two; for in the separation we have compromised with a faith that is not only dead but has deceived the people of God into thinking that a faith without works is not only acceptable but pleasing to its Author.
Zealous of Good Works
A people redeemed from all iniquity, purified unto a peculiar (treasured and precious) people, are a people zealous of Good Works. Whatever our place of development in God, whatever our standing, rest assured that our faith is being revealed by what it produces everyday in our lives. In the Book of Revelation we see the ONE with the eyes of fire peering into the Church of Laodicea and HE SPEAKS this Word…
“I know thy WORKS,
that thou are art neither cold nor hot…”
Our works reveal our faith. The redemptive power of salvation is revealed in and through lives that are filled with the fire of a continually growing, dynamic faith that is made alive by the LOVE of God.
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
availeth any thing, but
Faith which worketh by Love.”
“Faith is the root of works. A root that produces nothing is dead.”
Thomas Wilson (1663–1735)